Senior Executive Service - United States

The Senior Executive Service (SES) is a paygrade in the civil service of the United States federal government, somewhat analogous to the ranks of general or admiral in the U.S. armed forces. It was created in 1979 when the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 went into effect.

From the Office of Personnel Management:

The Senior Executive Service consists of the men and women charged with leading the continuing transformation of government. These leaders possess well-honed executive skills and share a broad perspective of government and a public service commitment which is grounded in the Constitution. The keystone of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, the SES was designed to be a corps of executives selected for their leadership qualifications.

Members of the SES serve in the key positions just below the top Presidential appointees. For a qualitative comparison example, SES members working in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) have status equivalent to general or admiral rank of their uniformed counterparts. In general, SES members are the major link between the Presidential appointees and the rest of the Federal (civil service) work force. At the executive level, they operate and oversee nearly every government activity in approximately 75 Federal agencies.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) manages the overall Federal executive personnel program. OPM Staff provides the day-to-day oversight of and assistance to agencies as they develop, select, and manage their Federal executives. Career members of the SES ranks are eligible for the Presidential Rank Awards program. Members of the Senior Executives Service are represented by the Senior Executives Association.


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